Car Cleaning Detail Tips

Washing your car several times per month, or even once a week, can keep your cars body in tip-top shape

Before you start washing your car, you will want to gather all the necessary supplies and car care cleaning products. You’ll need access to water- usually through a garden hose or pressure washer, a bucket, soap, sponges or soft cloths, scrub brush, glass cleaner, paper towels (or newspapers) and any other cleaning materials you may wish to use.

Once you have everything together then follow the following step to clean your car in an organize way

  1. Fill up the bucket with soap and water, making it really sudsy. Be sure to use a soap that is made to wash cars- shampoo and dish soap really won’t do the job.
  2. Choose a shady area to park your car, so as to avoid direct sunlight. Direct sun tends to dry the car prematurely, in turn leaving splotches on it. At the same time, make sure to keep the car away from trees that drip sap or drop leaves. But if you do find some sap drippings, don’t forget you can use WD-40 to remove tree sap from cars.
  3. Close all the doors and windows of your car and set all the cleaning equipments at your side.
  4. Fill a bucket with water and add car wash soap, as per directions given in the bottle. Keep another bucket full of water.
  5. Hose off the car, to remove excess dirt, starting from the roof to the tires. Be careful not to use strong jet, as that can rub grit over the paint and leave scratches.
  6. Lather a wash mitt or sponge in the soapy water and wipe your car with it, starting from the roof. Spray off the excess soap, after the entire roof has been cleaned.
  7. Wash the car section by section, washing one full side at a time, including the windows and fenders, and rinsing it with the hose, before going to the next one.
  8. Frequently get off the dirty water out of the sponge, by rinsing in plain, clear water.
  9. As you progress with the various steps, keep the entire car wet. It will ensure that the droplets don’t dry on the paint, leaving water-spots.
  10. The dirtiest and grimiest part of a car is its lower body and wheels. So, make it a point to scrub and clean them last. Use a different sponge for those parts.
  11. For cleaning the openings of the wheels, use a long, skinny wheel brush. To clean the tires, make use of steel-wool-soap pads, one for each tire.
  12. To dry the car, use chamois leather or towel and set it flat on the surface. Drag it along the surface, starting from the roofs and moving down to the tires. Make sure to pick up every water spot.
  13. Use rag, soaked in plain water, for cleaning the windows. After cleaning, dry them with a dry rag. Alternately, you can also use window cleaner and pieces of balled-up newspaper for both, the inside and outside of the windows.
  14. If you have spare time, clean and arrange the interior of the car as well.
  15. Take time out every week to make your car spotless, by following the tips on how to wash a car, as given above.

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How to Clean the Rims on Your Car

Cleaning rims on your car is no longer a challenge your pressure washer will excel in getting the tough stains of brake dust and grease from your rims.

To clean your rims really well you may wish to purchase some rim cleaner, there are several brands at auto supply companies and discount department stores. It only takes a little bit of product
to clean rims with your Ex-Cell unit and you will be amazed at the results.

Follow this easy step by step method

  1. First Step back about two feet and a little off to the side of the rim then Rinse the rim at close range, about 8 inches away while trying to spray in the cracks and from many angles.
  2. Spray the rim in circular motion following the out side of the rim and rinse the tire also, especially if you have white walls.
  3. Put the wand down and spray the Rim Cleaner on the tire and white walls, rinse the white wall this time from 5 inches away, but stand back.
  4. Hold the pressure washer wand and tip and follow the white wall around the tire.
  5. Next spray the rim with Rim Cleaner generously and allow ten seconds to pass then rinse the rim at about 8 inches away with the Ex-Cell Pressure Washer.

Always clean the rims first and after you are done with the entire car rinse the rims slowly from a distance and dry.

Washing your car inside and out

Washing your car several times per month, or even once a week, can keep your cars body in tip-top shape

Before you start washing your car, you will want to gather all the necessary supplies. You’ll need access to water- usually through a garden hose or pressure washer, a bucket, soap, sponges or soft cloths, scrub brush, glass cleaner, paper towels (or newspapers) and any other cleaning materials you may wish to use.

Once you have everything together, fill up the bucket with soap and water, making it really sudsy. Be sure to use a soap that is made to wash cars- shampoo and dish soap really won’t do the job.

Begin with the wheels. It is important to have clean wheels because they are in constant contact with the road, and can be prone to corrosion caused by brake dust. You are riding on your tires, and your safety depends on them. Be sure they are clean! You’ll want to use lots of soapy water and a scrub brush to get them clean. You may also need to use a degreaser. You may need to use some good ˜ole elbow grease to get down deep in the tread to get all the dirt and debris. Once clean, rinse them good. Then, you can also use polish your tires and wheel covers to give a finishing touch.

Next, start on the car itself. Start by hosing down the car to get the surface wet. Then, start with small sections at a time so you can pay close attention to detail.

Next, you can wax/polish your car. This will rally help protect your car from the elements like dirt, road salt, pollutions and other debris.. Apply the wax to one panel section at a time using a dry cloth. After the wax dries, you can buff it with a towel. One coat is enough to make it shine- but heck, you can add another coat or two of you want to make it really shine! The wax job can last about two months.

While the interior really doesn’t help maintain the car itself, it’s just nice to have a clean car inside out. After you are done washing and waxing, start by vacuuming the floors, mats and seats. You may need to use the attachments to be able to get in all the nooks and crannies. (Crumbs are everywhere!) If you have rubber mats, those can be washed along with the exterior and laid out to dry. Replace them after the car is cleaned inside. Next, wipe down all the interior surfaces with a damp cloth. Then, just like you did the outside windows, do the same for the inside. Some people like to use a polish to make the dashboard shine. Just don’t polish the steering wheel! It’ll make it slippery.

Auto Wheel Care

History didn’t record his name. He may have been a warrior designing a battle chariot. Perhaps he was a stone mason struggling to complete a building, or a mourner providing a smoother ride for a departed loved one. But on that special day, sometime in the fourth millennium BC, in the delta between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, this unknown Sumerian changed the history of the world and all mankind. He invented the wheel.

Wheel Care Challenge
Your car’s wheels can dramatically enhance the appearance and performance of your automobile. Modern wheels can also present a substantial cleaning challenge as heated dust particles from brake pads bombard the wheel and bake into the finish. If left on the wheel, a phenomenon known as galvanic corrosion sets in, which will eventually destroy the wheel’s appearance.

Most modern wheels, in particular aluminum wheels (or “Mags” as they were once called), are painted with the same paint and clear-coat used on the body of your car. While durable, the wheels clear-coat finish is subject to damage from acid compounds (including acid rain, hydrocarbons, and acidic cleaners). Likewise, polished and anodized aluminum wheels (not protected by a clear-coat) will react to both alkaline and acidic conditions.

Unfortunately, typical car wash soaps and household cleaners are not strong enough to break the bond between brake dust, road tar, road grime and the wheel. To properly clean wheels, the car care industry has developed two groups of wheel cleaners:

Acid-based Cleaners — These are widely used by detailers, car dealers and car washes who need to clean wheels in the shortest possible time or with the least amount of effort. Acid-based cleaners are typically 2% solutions of oxalic, phosphoric, and hydrochloric acid. Eagle One All Finish Wheel Cleaner is an example of an acid-based cleaner. While acid-based cleaners pack the greatest cleaning punch they can easily etch the surface of your wheel if allowed to dry. Care must be taken not to use acid cleaners on wheels with pitted or chipped surfaces. The acid will migrate into any fissures and accentuate flaking and peeling of surface coatings.

Acid-free Cleaners — These are mild solutions of alkaline solvent, usually ethylene glycol, with a wetting agent. These solutions creep under the dirt and brake dust, loosening and lifting surface grime. Non-acidic cleaners usually require some surface agitation (brush or sponge) but are safer to use and will not etch the wheel’s finish. P21S is the best known 100% acid-free wheel cleaner. Acid-free wheel cleaners range in strength from mild (P21S), to moderate (P21S Gel), to professional strength (Eimann Fabrik Hi-Intensity).
Tire Care Challenge
Your tires have several formidable enemies: water, formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, ultraviolet light, and ozone. Water washes away the natural oils in rubber that keep it elastic. Formaldehyde and petroleum distillates act as a solvent, eating rubber on contact. When ozone, an odorless gas which is part of the air we breathe, is combined with ultraviolet (UV) light, a reaction occurs that attacks the tire and its polymers (the agents that bind the rubber).

To protect against ozone and UV damage, a stabilizer molecule called a competitive absorber is blended with the tire polymer. Competitive absorbers work by capturing and absorbing UV radiation and converting it to heat which is dissipated harmlessly. All tire manufacturers use the same competitive absorber, called carbon black. This is why all tires are black.

These absorbers are sacrificial; they expend themselves in performing their function of converting UV light to heat. However, as carbon black loses its ability to perform, it turns gray. This is one reason why black tires discolor as they age.

To protect from further ozone damage, tire manufacturers add a wax compound to their formulas. Tires flex when they are in motion, causing the wax molecules to migrate to the surface. This forms as a protective barrier between the air (ozone and oxygen), water and the tire polymer. In the tire trade this is called blooming. When tires are parked for extended periods, blooming does not occur and ozone quickly attacks the tire polymer. With UV light and ozone working in concert, the degradation is accelerated, resulting in drying, discoloration and cracking.

To combat the negative effects of water, solvents and UV light on tires, the car care industry has created tire dressings. These dressings condition the tire, restoring essential moisture. Tire dressings fall into two groups:

Liquid Silicone Dressings  These penetrating-type silicones form a flexible protective shield on rubber. Liquid silicone seals small openings with a film to prevent penetration of moisture and dirt. Most silicone dressings leave a never-dry gloss film. There are many myths regarding silicone, specifically the negative long-term effects of silicone on rubber and vinyl. The fact is, silicone is an inert material. The benefit of silicone is its ability to easily penetrate the tires surface and not evaporate. Some silicone-based dressings contain petroleum distillates as a cleaning agent. Petroleum distillates are harmful to rubber and vinyl, and will cause rubber and vinyl to crack. If you decide to use a silicone tire dressing, make sure it does not contain a cleaner. The only true negative property of silicone is the difficulty of adding UV protection.
Water-Based Dressings  The water-based dressings do not contain silicone oils, petroleum distillates, waxes, or other dangerous solvents that can harm and dull the surface of rubber and vinyl over time. Most water-based dressings use a combination of natural oils (such as shea butter or cocoa butter) to offer a non-greasy, satin finish. Likewise, most of these products contain UV blocking agents to help keep tires from cracking, fading and hardening. Additionally, most water-based dressings are biodegradable, whereas silicone is not.
Proper Tire and Wheel Cleaning
To properly clean your tires and wheels, you will need a 3-5 gallon bucket, a soft tire and wheel scrub brush, a sponge or wash cloth, a water hose and nozzle, car shampoo, and a spray wheel cleaner. Here are some step-by-step tips to make cleaning easier:

Clean one wheel at a time.
Clean your tires and wheels first before washing the rest of the car. This prevents splattering cleaners, dirt and brake dust on already cleaned panels. Your car is also less prone to getting water spots from drying while you wash your wheels.
Do not clean your wheels if they are still hot from driving. Let them cool, or thoroughly hose them down.
Mix a bucket of soapy water with your favorite car shampoo. Mix double the recommended strength.  I recommend Eimann Fabrik Power Wash+ for tires and wheels. It’s much stronger than most automotive shampoos, but it will not strip wax.
Thoroughly rinse the tire and wheel with water using a hose and spray nozzle. If exposed, rinse the brake caliper to flush away loose brake dust. Finally, rinse up into the wheel well to wash away road grunge, road kill, mud and other debris.
If your tires and wheels have a heavy coating of brake dust or road grime, spray them down with your wheel cleaner. Allow the cleaner to soak for 30 seconds (minimum) to 3 minutes (maximum). I like P21S, P21S Gel, and Eimann Fabrik Hi-Intensity for most applications.
Use your tire and wheel scrub brush and your soapy water to agitate the tire and wheel surface. Use plenty of soapy water. The soap acts as a lubricant to gently lift dirt and grit away from your wheels. Follow-up with your sponge or washcloth to wash the remaining dirt from the tire and wheel. If your wheels have large open areas, use the sponge to get behind these areas. Make sure the tires are scrubbed. Many people put layer upon layer of dressings on their tires but never clean them. The result is a brown or yellow discoloration.
Use your wheel brush and soapy water to scrub the accessible areas of the wheel well, too. This small detail keeps your car looking fresh and new.
Thoroughly rinse the tire, wheel and wheel well. Use plenty of water. You need to ensure that all traces of the wheel cleaner (and your neighbors cat) are gone.
After washing your car, remember to dry your tires and wheels using a 100% cotton terrycloth towel.

Caution: I do not recommend using tire cleaners containing bleach. Bleaches are used in many tire cleaners to brighten white wall tires, but they can turn tires a dull gray and will stain your alloy wheels.

Proper Tire & Wheel Conditioning
After you clean your tires and wheels, you need to protect them. Tire dressings accent the appearance of your tires and protect against cracking and fading. Likewise, waxing your wheels protects their finish from brake dust, and makes them easier to keep clean.

Your wheels should be waxed, at a minimum, each time you wax your car. You can significantly reduce your wheel cleaning and waxing efforts by coating your wheels with a high quality acrylic. I really like Klasse All-In-One for this purpose, as it’s heat resistant and will not yellow. Klasse All-In-One also has the added benefit of being both a cleaner and a protectant. Another excellent wheel protection product is Plexus.  Plexus works well on wheels with many small openings, as these wheels are difficult to wax.

To apply tire dressing:

Use a small foam sponge, foam wax applicator, or Eagle One Tire Swipes to apply tire dressing (foam provides even distribution and wastes far less product than a cloth). To avoid getting tire dressing on your car, apply the dressing to the foam applicator, not directly to the tire. I prefer 303 Aerospace Protectant (matte finish) and Lexol Vinylex (gloss finish). These products are all water-based dressings containing strong UV inhibitors.
Allow dressings to penetrate into the tire before wiping off the excess dressing. Five to ten minutes is okay, but 30 minutes is even better.
If your wheel wells have a black plastic liner, wipe the wheel well liner with dressing, too. This simple detailing step makes a big difference.
If you like your tires to be shiny, do a final wipe down with your foam applicator. If you prefer a satin finish, buff the tires down with a terrycloth towel.
Concours Tires & Wheels
Have you ever noticed how show cars look so fresh and clean? Beyond just shiny, they are bright. This effect comes from the smallest details. A great place to start is with your tires and wheels.

Concourse winning show cars are clean enough to pass a white glove test. This includes the tires and wheels (front and back) and the wheel wells. Removing your wheels to detail them might seem a little fanatical, but it has several benefits, including:

Inspecting your tires for proper wear and damage.
Inspecting your brakes.
Inspecting your suspension.
In the course of completing this guide, I used my 1995 BMW M3 for before and after pictures. The car has been on the road full-time for the past year, so I’ve hardly had time to do any serious maintenance. While the wheels were off, I found two maintenance problems. The first was a big hole in my front wheel well liner. Obviously something hard got tossed up in there by the wheel. The second was a bad bushing on the sway bar. So, beyond just cleaning and maintaining, this was a valuable maintenance exercise.

To properly concourse detail your tires and wheels, you will need a jack, jack stands, bucket, tire and wheel brush, sponge, water hose and nozzle, car shampoo, spray wheel cleaner, tar remover (mineral spirits), wax, tire dressing, foam wax applicators and plenty of terrycloth towels. If you are not familiar with the procedure for jacking your car and removing the wheels, see your car owners guide.

Here is the step-by-step procedure to clean your tires, wheels and wheel wells:

Remove and clean one wheel at a time. Slightly loosen the lug nuts on one wheel and jack one end of your car off the ground (preferably the end with the wheel you want to remove). Before fully loosening the lug nuts and removing the wheel, place a jack stand under an appropriate point of the chassis or suspension.
Mix a bucket of soapy water with your favorite car shampoo. Mix double the recommended strength.
Clean the backside of the wheel first. Spray the backside of the wheel and tire with a generous coat of wheel cleaner. Allow it to soak for 3-5 minutes.
Using your tire and wheel brush, scrub the backside of the tire and wheel with soapy water. The resulting grunge will be very gritty, so use plenty of soapy water and keep your brush rinsed.
Rinse thoroughly and repeat. If your wheels have small crevices, you may need to use an old toothbrush. A soft parts cleaning brush also works well on the backside of the wheel.
When the wheels backside is as clean as you can get it, repeat on the front. Make sure you rinse both sides really well when you’re done.
While the wheel is dripping dry, spray the wheel well, brake caliper and suspension components with cleaner. Allow it to soak for five minutes. Take this time to dry your wheel with a cotton terrycloth towel.
Use the remaining soapy water and your wheel brush to scrub the wheel well, brake caliper and suspension parts. You don’t need to make it perfect unless you really do plan to show your car. Make it clean enough to inspect. Let these parts air dry.
Once everything is clean, you can turn your attention to protection and beautification:

Spray the underside of your wheel well and any plastic parts with a generous coat of silicon tire and rubber dressing. Allow it to soak in. If you live in an area where it snows, this will prevent the snow from accumulating in your wheel wells (no more snow bunnies!). It also makes future cleanings much easier. I recommend Eimann Fabrik Black Opal Gloss Dressing for this purpose. Wipe off the excess dressing with a towel, and buff to a nice luster. Be careful not to get over spray on the body of your car.
Wipe your tire down with a generous coat of tire dressing and allow it to penetrate. While the dressing penetrates, inspect the wheel for tar spots. Quite often, large tar spots will accumulate on the backside of the wheel. Use tar remover and a rag to remove the tar. If your wheel has a lot of spots, wipe down the whole wheel.
Inspect your wheel for surface scratches. If you find any, now is the time to buff them out with a light polishing compound. If you don’t have a polishing compound, use a little dab of toothpaste.
Wax your wheel front and back. An acrylic sealant will last the longest and provide the best protection, but good old paste wax works fine. Buff to a high luster.
Finally, buff down the tire and apply a second coat of tire dressing. When satisfied with the finish, put the wheel back on the car.

By David W. Bynon Copyright (c), 2000, Autopia Car Care — All Rights Reserved

Washing your car? Don’t forget the windows….

by David W. Bynon Copyright (c), 2000, Autopia Car Care — All Rights Reserved

how to clean car windows

Have you ever noticed how much better your car looks when the windows are perfectly clean? Yet, many of us ignore the windows when we wash because it adds a few precious minutes. Forget the time involved in keeping your glass clean for a moment, have you ever thought about how hazy, dirty windows can be a safety hazard? Driving your car with dirty, hazy windows on a rainy night or in heavy traffic, straining to see, is a driving impairment. You should consider this a true danger. In addition to being a hazard, the effects of dirty glass can quickly ruin the appearance of your perfectly polished and waxed automobile. Cleaning your windows is one of the most tedious tasks you will face. After you have completed all other detailing tasks, put the perfect touch on your car by detailing you cars glass.

Glass Cleaners

Just as in selecting car shampoo and wax, no two car enthusiasts can agree on the ultimate glass cleaner. Some people like ammonia cleaners, others swear by TSP, while the purists will use nothing but clear water.

Whatever you use, the principles are the same: clean, dry and polish. I highly discourage the use of ammonia-based glass cleaners on your car. While ammonia is a great glass cleaner for the home, ammonia is harmful to many car surfaces including vinyl, rubber, and leather. More importantly, the use of ammonia inside your car is harmful to your health. As a substitute to ammonia, I prefer citric acid, alcohol, or mechanical cleaners.

Glass cleaners in a spray bottle work fine. The only problem is over spray on the dash and upholstery. As it is difficult to direct the spray of glass cleaners, you will have the best luck spraying one side of a clean towel, wiping the glass, and they drying with the other side of the towel. Many professional detailers use plain water for wiping and cleaning the windows and dry the glass with newspaper. Unlike paper towels and most cotton towels, newspaper does not leave behind lint and the ink acts as a glass polish. The only draw back to this method is the newsprint ink on your hands when you’re done. Be sure to wash your hands before touching your upholstery.

Steps For Cleaning Windows

Start your window cleaning with the drives door and front passenger door. If your door has a window frame, lower the window approximately one inch to allow access to the top part of the glass. This part should be cleaned and dried first. Spray with glass cleaner and buff dry. Now roll the window back up and clean the remainder of the window. Pay attention to the corner of the windows, as this is where you will get most smears and streaks. Dont forget your drivers side and passenger side mirrors.

While you’re sitting down in the passengers seat, clean the inside of the windshield. The inside of the windshield is easier to clean from the passengers side as your access is not obstructed by the steering wheel. Take your time around the rearview mirror as it is only glued to your windshield. If you bump into the rearview mirror hard enough or at the right angle, you can break it loose from the glass.

The inside of the rear window is the most difficult to reach and should be done last. The best technique for cleaning your rear window is to use the backside of your hand to guide your towel down into the corners. Trying to use the palm of your hand will force you to be a contortionist and draw strange looks from your neighbors.

Cleaning Spotted Glass

Some parts of the country are burdened with extremely hard water. Hard water is water that contains excessive trace elements including calcium, iron, lime, and other minerals found in streams and rivers. These trace elements remain on your glass when water from sprinklers or washing air dries. These hard water spots attach themselves to glass like white on rice. If left on your glass for very long, hard water spots will not wash off with shampooing or regular glass cleaners. In my experience, there are only two ways to remove hard water spots. The first is to use distilled white vinegar. If your water spots are mild, you can dilute the vinegar 2:1 with water. Heavy spots may require pure vinegar. Either way, the vinegar will not harm you or your car. Vinegar is a very mild acid, which dissolves the alkaline-based mineral water deposits with ease. If hard water spots are allowed to remain for more than a week or two, they may etch the glass. So, even though you have removed the minerals causing the water spots, the spots remain as damage to your glass. In these cases, it is necessary to polish the glass. Until recently, there were a number of glass polishes on the market. The two best products were Eagle One Glass Polish & RainX Glass Polish. However, both of these products have been discontinued due to little demand. In my experience, any light (low abrasive) car polish that does not contain paint feeding oils will work as a good glass polish. Eagle One Scratch Remover is a good example of a polish that does not contain oils and works well on glass, as does P21S Multi-Surface Finish Restorer. There are two ways to use these polishes. The most gentle is to use an old t-shirt to polish the spotted area and buff to full luster. The second is to use the polish with #00 or finer synthetic steel wool to remove the spots then buff with an old t-shirt. If your glass is heavily pitted, or mildly scratched, you can also use polish to restore the finish. In this case, it may be necessary to use a buffer in order to achieve the desired results. In some cases, the glass may be so deeply pitted, etched, or scratched that the inevitable must occur, you must replace the glass.

Cleaning Window Tint Film

Window tint film is often applied to the inside windows to shade passengers or provide privacy. Window tint film is a thin sheet of Mylar plastic. Mylar easily scratches and will be destroyed by ammonia. To clean tinted windows, use mild cleaners and water only. Tint film that has been scratched can be polished with cleaners designed for the vinyl windows often found on convertible tops. The product I recommend for polishing and regular maintenance of window tint film is Plexus. Plexus comes in spray and is safe for use on plastic, Plexiglas, and window tint film. In addition to polishing your window tint film, Plexus works great on your tail light and headlight covers.

Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers are necessary to clean your windshield and rear window when it rains, snows, becomes bug ridden, or dirty from long road trips. Wipers perform best when the rubber is in good shape and the glass is fairly clean. You should make it a habit to clean your front and rear wiper blades at the same time you clean your glass. After cleaning your glass, use a damp cloth to wipe the rubber blades, removing bug residue, wax, and other dirt build-up. Although rubber dressing helps preserve, protect, and beautify the rubber and vinyl parts on your car, you should not use dressings on your wiper blades. Rubber dressing on your blades will cause streaking and smearing, impairing your vision. The best overall maintenance of your blades is keeping them clean. No amount of cleaning will keep your blades in perfect condition. Wiper blades wear with each use. Most wiper blades will last about one year. When your blades become worn, dried, or faulty replace them with a new set. Most manufacturers recommend replacing wiper blades at the beginning of fall.

Final Touches

If your car is a year or more old, a close inspection may reveal dirt build-up in the corners of your windshield and rear window around the trim. To remove this caked on gunk, use an old toothbrush or detailing brush with your spray cleaner. Before cleaning, lay a towel at the base of the window to catch drips. Spray your brush with window cleaner and shake off the excess cleaner. Use your brush to scrub along the trim, breaking loose the dirt. Use the tip of a cotton swab to reach underneath trim and remove trapped dirt. If your brush wont remove the build-up of dirt use a sharp single edged razor blade to gently remove the dirt from your glass. Take care not to push your razor blade too far under rubber seals as this may cause leaks. Stay clear of defroster strips on rear windows that are not embedded in the glass. Cutting the defroster strips will render them useless. Follow up after the razor blade with your brush and glass cleaner.

Microfiber Cloth

Recently, the car detailing industry was introduced to a new cleaning cloth originally designed to clean semi-conductor manufacturing plants (often called œclean rooms). The revolutionary new cloth is a polyester/polyamide woven fabric that is non-abrasive and hypoallergenic. Soft like silk, yet tough as a bulldog, the cloth attracts dust, grime, oily films and salt residues just like a magnet. The cloth’s patented surface structure contains 90,000 micro fibers per square inch. These “micro-hooks” grab, lift, and hold dust and grime without the need for cleaning solutions. When used damp on glass, the cleaning cloth, which we call the Miracle Towel, cleans windows by pulling dirt and oils into the cloth. The ultra fine structure of the Miracle Towel leaves exceptionally small water beads, which dry without spotting. For perfect glass, follow the damp Miracle Towel with a dry Miracle Towel. Your Miracle Towel can be used damp or dry. When used dry, it works like a chamois. The super absorbent weave holds up to seven times its weight in water. To date, I have not found a cleaning product that can match the ease of use or result of the Miracle Towel. If you regularly maintain your windows, the Miracle Towel is the best overall substitution to chemicals and terry cloth drying towels. Unlike terry cloth or other cotton towels, the Miracle Towel will not leave lint or cause streaking. The Miracle Towel will not, however, remove sap, tar or hard water spots from your windows. These problems will still require the use of chemicals.

Other Tips & Hints

For long road trips and unexpected problems, keep a cleaning cloth in your glove box. I have found the simplest solution to window cleaning away from home, comes from P21S. P21S makes a product called Windshield Wipes, which are a sealed pouch containing a cleaning cloth and a drying cloth. The cleaning cloth has a strong cleaning solution that cuts through most glass problems. Also, from P21S, I have found that P21S Windshield Wash Booster improves my wipers ability to clean my windshield without streaking. The power of P21S Booster easily cuts through bugs and road grime.

Product Recommendations The glass products I recommend include: 1. Miracle Towel 2. Eimann Fabrik Clear Vision 3. Porsche Glass Cleaner 4. Stoner Invisible Glass 5. Plexus (window tint film) 6. P21S Windshield Wipes 7. P21S Windshield Wash Booster

Bird Bombs

A bird’s droppings are very acidic (pH 3.5 to 4.5). When bird droppings fall on your paint, the acid begins to burn and etch the paints surface. The longer the bird droppings remain, the greater the damage.

The result of bird dropping damage is a dimple in the paints surface, often as large as an inch or more in diameter. This damage is permanent, but can easily be repaired.

Repairing Damage

The only way to repair the damage caused by bird droppings is to polish the paint. You must use the polish to blending the surrounding paint, bringing it down to the same level as the damaged area. This may sound drastic, but it works very well. The only concern is that you’re making the paint thinner. So you must be careful not to polish all the way through to the primer. Do so, and you’ll have a more noticeable problem than what the bird left behind.

Any good paint polish can be used to fix the damage with a fair amount of rubbing. I’ve found that it’s better to start with a mild compound, as you would find in a scratch remover(Eagle One Scratch Remover is a good example), followed by a good hand polish.

Preventing Damage

While it’s not really possible to keep birds from bombing your car with their dirty little surprises, you can take steps to limit the damage. The most obvious protection is a car cover (please, not while you’re driving). But, even the cover won’t help you when you’re driving. To limit the damage when you get hit, you need to remove the offending slim as quickly as possible. Don’t wait. Get it off of your car.

I’ve found the best way to clean up after a bird is with a good detailing spray and a cotton terry cloth towel. As I’m a clean car fanatic anyway, I keep a little detailing kit in my trunk. It holds a spray bottle of quick detailing spray, a couple towels, and my favorite rubber and vinyl dressing. That’s all it takes for me to keep the car looking great. When a bird gets me, I spray the bird droppings with a few shots of detailing spray and wipe it off with the towel, turning the towel as necessary to keep a clean wipe on the car.

Another way to protect your paint from bird damage is to keep your car waxed. While a standard carnauba wax offers limited protection against a juicy attack, it makes cleanup much easier. Acrylic polymer sealants protect a little better against the harsh acids, but it’s not enough to create a damage-free barrier if the bird poop sits too long. You still need to remove the mess as quickly as possible.

by David W. Bynon Copyright (c), 2000, Autopia Car Care — All Rights Reserved (www.autopia-carcare.com)

Cement From Car Exterior

Cement and plaster are alkaline compounds. They are easily removed from clothes, woodwork, your body and cars using distilled white vinegar (a mild acid).

Simply soak a sponge with the vinegar and lay it on the cement spots for a few seconds. This will loosen the cement so it can be hosed away. It may take a couple applications to remove the cement from the car. Whatever you do, don’t try to wipe the cement off with the sponge, as this will scratch the paint.


General Information

Chrome is a mixture of metals, primarily Chromium and Nickel. It is a very resilient and brillant finish that can last a lifetime if properly maintained.

Tools & Technique

To clean and polish chrome, try using a mild detergent to remove dirt and grease.
If there is still residue, try using a polishing paste or commercially available metal polish.
Once the chrome is clean, polish with a cotton rag. Old cloth diapers are the best, but any thick cotton cloth that has been previously washed will polish without leaving lint.
Never use caustic cleaners such as oven cleaner or abrasive cleansers like comet on chrome, as surface damage will result in rapid deterioration.
To maintain the luster of chrome, try applying a coat of automotive wax.

Convertable Tops

General Info:
Convertible tops for the most part are made out of vinyl or vinyl-like material, usually with some sort of texture. Treat it as you would any vinyl surface.
Tools & Chemicals:
Mild Detergent, Water, Cleaning Cloth, Soft-Bristle Brush, Ammonia, Vinyl Cleaner.


  • For regular cleaning use mild detergent, water and a soft cloth or sponge. Vinyl is quite tough and can take a lot of cleanings which will keep the top looking good.
  • If dirt and grime is heavier use a soft-bristle brush to loosen from deeper in the textured surface.
  • You can also use a solution of ammonia and water applied with a sponge. Keep the solution mild and rinse off with clean water. Only do this once or twice a year.
  • Of course, there are many commercial products that will clean and condition vinyl tops such as “Armor All”

Vinyl has plasticizers which keep it supple. Excess oils, harsh detergents and solvents will harden and crack vinyl surfaces


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